Your Guide to Betting on Football

Also named soccer, football is the biggest sport in world, and presents a year round calendar of events for enthusiasts to tune in on. Incidentally, the popularity of the sport, makes it a lucrative one on the betting markets. A team sport, many of the approaches to betting on football are similar to say Rugby, NFL or other national football competitions. The real difference in football is the low scoring nature of the game, and the higher turnouts of events ending in draws. For this reason, gaining value on match betting can be a bit of a tricky pick, so this guide to betting on football is designed to help the football enthusiast turned rookie bettor get off to a flying start.

Markets

With football as one of the most popular sports in the world, there are no shortage of markets to pick from. The largest bookmaking sites offer up to hundreds of different types of bets, all the way from 1 x 2 betting all the way to who the next manager of a club will be. Most bets in football stand for 90 minutes and the additional time added for overtime, though some clearly last outside that margin, particularly outright bets related to tournaments. There are a whole variety that relate to the next goal scorer, over/under (for goals, corners, and cards), half time scores, winning margins and penalties. In addition there are some exotic tools available for the professional punter, such as handicaps and Asian handicaps which allow for altered odds/payouts on certain teams. An increasingly popular market in football is the accumulator, which essentially consists of picking a whole bunch of teams each week to win, with each victory accumulating their odds/payout. You need all to predict all of the results correctly in order to win the bet, but these bets can pay out thousands of dollars from small deposits.

Teams overall form

Considering the wide breadth of markets and competitions from around the globe, it is worth factoring in some considerations before taking a position. One area is a team’s form, or even individual players form. Teams generally perform better at home, for instance, there are statistics that show this to be true a good majority of the time across all historical data, so it’s worth noting the effect this can have. This can though be nullified when two rival teams are head to head, where somehow the pride and stakes involved brings a stronger performance from the visiting side than would be normal. In addition to this, it is important to consider how a team has been performing in weeks prior to competition; if the underdog has had a swing of rolling victories and orchestrated some upsets their spirits will be stronger than a favourite who has had the opposite; thus potentially creating a loop of confidence.  In order to narrow in on these effects with a given team, look at recent data on each team and you’ll be able to see, for example, how they have performed away from home; and perhaps an underdog that has shown to be winning an unusual 80% of their away games might be worth considering as undervalued.

What’s been happening recently?

It’s also worth considering a variety of other factors that can effect a team off the field in the lead up to a competition. The team may have played a variety of international games away and be exhausted and jet lagged when returning home. Combine this with an away match that they don’t actually need to qualify and you might have a team with higher odds of losing than the bookies have given. As a general rule, ask ‘what recent events will motivate a side and how?’ Problems from within the club, or media pressure on a new coach seen to be underperforming can swelter the morale of a side that would be otherwise stronger.

On that note, individual players can have a large impact on the game as well, particularly when they’re being held out of a game or are injured. As a general rule, missing defenders can impact a game more, and any opposing side is going to know this too and may push to capitalize here. The stand outs here are any star defenders and especially the goal keeper. Importantly, one of the key players of a team is the captain, and this can be particularly trying in a tough game or a match that is an important qualifier. Be wary of a missing link in a team’s chain. Not only can injured or missing players effect a team in a way that gives a team worse/better odds than the bookies predict, it can also be overhyped, and if you analyse other factors and find that a missing player is not the chink in the armour that the price reflects, you may have struck value.

At one level, betting on football can turn into a science of valued calculations, bankroll management and allocation, with methodical and systematic approach for uncovering value and staking accordingly. At another level though, this kind of betting is somewhat of an art, and is best felt out intuitively through experience, careful study and, at least initially, smaller bets. Always remember to avoid chasing losses, bet only what you can, and most importantly, have fun!

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